Expressions of Interest are now being sought by the RFL from any clubs in the UK that are interested in joining the Co-operative Championships between 2012 and 2015.
The RFL intends to further expand the Co-operative Championships during this period and the initial deadline for Expression of Interest submissions from clubs is 12pm on April 11.
The RFL’s Chief Operating Officer, Ralph Rimmer said: “These are truly exciting times for the sport and any club that is deemed suitable for entry will receive full support from the RFL to help make this a success.
“A club may consider themselves ready to enter in 2012 however others may wish to work towards entry in a few years time, 2013, 2014 or 2015; we want all of these to register their interest.
“There can be no promises made to any clubs at present but we want to test the waters and see what’s out there. After working with all the submissions we’ll be in a better position this summer to ascertain whether there are any new clubs ready for entry in 2012 and what further additions could potentially be made over the following years.
“The Co-operative Championships is a fantastic competition which was seen by 1.5 million TV viewers in 2010. The clubs are also involved in two high profile cup competitions in the Northern Rail Cup and Carnegie Challenge Cup.
“The current 21 clubs in the Championships consist of founder members of the sport with a rich heritage such as Leigh, Oldham and Batley as well as relatively recent additions from Gateshead, London and South Wales.
“There are a number of great facilities such as Leigh Sports Village and the Stobart Stadium Halton and clubs have credible attendances, with eight clubs posting at least one home gate over 2000 last season.”
The Co-operative Championships is a semi professional Rugby League competition for clubs in the leagues directly below Super League. It consists of two divisions called the Championship and Championship One with annual promotion and relegation between the two.
Full time staff are in place at each club who receive annual financial support from the RFL and every player is contracted and paid accordingly.
A salary cap is in place for both divisions and all clubs have to pass minimum facility standards which include having more than 200 seats (more than 500 required in the Championship) and have an enclosed ground with floodlights. These standards are set to rise in 2015 as it’s recognised the majority of clubs compete in stadia well in excess of minimum standards.
Clubs are asked to register their Expression of Interest by April 11 with an email to Chris Thair in the RFL Club Support unit email@example.com.
This submission should consist of no more than three pages of information which includes when they wish to enter, why they would add value to the competition and details about their infrastructure including standard of home ground.
Each club will be contacted within ten days of their submission and a meeting arranged to progress matters and all submissions will be kept in confidence unless instructed otherwise.
Should any club have a query on this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org